Connecting citizens with mobile apps

28 December 2011 | Joel Cherkis, General Manager, Worldwide Government


Global smartphone adoption continues to grow rapidly as consumers move from mobile phones to more sophisticated "smartphones" like the Windows Phone, iPhone, and other similar devices. According to new figures released by VisionMobile, a mobile market analysis firm, smartphone adoption has reached over 27 percent around the world - and over 50 percent in developed markets including Europe and North America.

As I see increased adoption of the new Windows Phone, I am most excited about its potential to deliver intuitive, citizen-facing apps to users right in the palm of their hand. One of the emerging trends in Gov 2.0 is cracking open government datasets and repurposing them to provide solutions that weren’t even envisaged when the original data was collected.

Microsoft recently highlighted some of the most promising examples of these public sector apps in a Spotlight 2011 Competition, and below are a few of the finalists:

  • Waste Not – Similar to a restaurant locator for recycling, this app allows citizens to find their recycling facilities and street bins and even check the next pickup times.
  • TransHub – Lots of apps offer access to public transit timetables, but this app takes it a step further by enabling users to build and plan customized journeys using different modes of public transportation.
  • TrafficMate – For commuters who are tired of learning about traffic jams after they are already stuck, this app allows citizens to map their daily commute and then send real-time incident alerts so motorists can choose a less congested route before it’s too late.

To read about more of the great citizen-facing apps that have been developed for Windows Phone, check out this article in Government Technology Review (PDF – beginning on page 39). And if you’re interested in creating a citizen services app on the Windows Phone platform, I would encourage you to take advantage of all of our free developer tools and resources.

With that, our team is taking a week off from blogging to spend time with our friends and families. We will post again and look forward to hearing more of your suggestions and comments in the New Year.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government